SXSW Film

Daily Reviews and Interviews

SXSW Film

Hell on Wheels

D: Bob Ray

Sure, there's a compound fracture, group spankings, and hot women on roller skates repeatedly falling into a pile, but the real drama in Ray's five-year Roller Derby opus is at the meetings. Here, an Austin Roller Derby league evolves from a half-baked notion to a postfeminist grassroots movement – and again into a start-up business for which the skaters and managers vie for ownership. Part rock 'em, sock 'em sports doc (cue Trail of Dead) and part behind-the-scenes exposé, the film is blessedly free of A&E-style jiggle and melodramatic pandering, and it makes clear the value of Derby for misfit girls who like to clothesline people. Best of all is the film's coda, which tracks the subsequent formation of Roller Derby leagues across the U.S. and the globe.


4:15pm, Alamo Downtown

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